New Yorkers Must Oppose Economic Development Policies that Give More Power to Billionaires and their Corporations over Our Communities’ Future

HQ2 Scam
HQ2 Scam
Mar 1 · 5 min read

As New Yorkers we believe every person has the right to good union jobs, safe and dignified affordable housing, strong and stable communities, a great public education, and a voice in our democracy. Because of these values, we must oppose Governor Cuomo’s failed economic development policies that give more power over our communities’ futures to billionaires and their corporations.

Cuomo’s plea for Amazon to come back to New York and the open letter that appears in the New York Times today does not accurately reflect the desires of immigrant communities, working-class communities, and communities of color. Amazon left the first time around because of fierce vocal opposition, and that opposition still remains. We defeated them recently, and we will do it again.

The Amazon HQ2 plan was a perfect example of the Governor’s failed economic development policies. It was a backroom deal that cut out communities and handed a $500 million grant and $2.5 billion in future public money to the wealthiest man in the world. Other than the union construction and building services jobs that were already in place from previous plans for the site and that were grandfathered into the deal, Amazon made little commitment to local hiring and promised just 30 jobs for public housing residents. Their presence in Seattle drove up rents and homelessness to unprecedented levels. A similar headquarters in Long Island City would have done the same in Queens, accelerating the displacement of our communities. Furthermore, Amazon refused to stay neutral to unionization efforts or to stop their collaboration with ICE, which is incompatible with the values of the people of New York.

The State of New York has allocated tens of billions of dollars to corporations in the name of economic development, but communities and workers across the state continue to suffer from disinvestment. While Governor Cuomo said that Amazon leaving was the greatest tragedy since he’s been in office, our communities face real tragedies every day that continue to go unaddressed by the administration:

  • Students are suffering from crumbling schools, outdated textbooks, and crowded classrooms while the state owes our public schools billions of dollars in aid. The Governor refuses to comply with a lawsuit that would force the state to release that aid to our public schools.
  • Nearly 100,000 New Yorkers sleep in shelters each night, a number that has risen 36% on Governor Cuomo’s watch. Nearly 100,000 rent stabilized apartments have been lost.
  • Public housing residents are living in deplorable conditions while State funding for public housing continues to decline. Plans like NYCHA 2.0 and NextGen NYCHA are inadequate solutions to New York’s ongoing public housing crisis.
  • Riders can no longer depend on the MTA to get to work, school, and critical appointments. Cuomo has presided over disinvestment in the system that now requires $40 billion to pay for repairs and modernization.

We are a diverse coalition of New Yorkers who believe that we need ‘bottom-up’ economic development designed for the benefit of our communities, not for billionaires, corporations and real estate speculators. Cuomo’s failed economic development policies have extracted our wealth in exchange for false job promises. Look no further than the Buffalo Billion project, which has been riddled with corruption and cost the state nearly $1 million per job.

We are committed to the establishment of a new equitable economic development agenda that redirects the billions of dollars currently spent on tax breaks and subsidies for corporations towards deep, community-led investments in our neighborhoods. We need investment that creates good union jobs, real affordable housing, fully funded schools, and modernized public infrastructure.

Rather than pursuing economic development policies that lead to displacement, we demand policies that create housing stability and security. We call for Universal Rent Control that gives people, not the real estate industry, the power to determine where they live — no New Yorker should live in fear of a rapid rent increase or an eviction.

We will continue to hold Amazon accountable and defend our communities from their monopolistic practices, their tax avoidance, and their collaboration with ICE. We will continue to stand in solidarity with Amazon workers facing brutal working conditions and union busting bosses.

These fights won’t be easy. But we know New Yorkers will stand with us in our fight for a state that works for all of us.

Signed,

  1. Adhikaar for Human Rights & Social Change
  2. ALIGN-NY
  3. Alliance for Quality Education
  4. Arab American Association of New York
  5. Art Against Displacement
  6. Association for Neighborhood & Housing Development (ANHD)
  7. Bad Barcode
  8. BAJI — Black Alliance for Just Immigration
  9. Brandworkers
  10. BYP100 NYC
  11. CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities
  12. Carroll Gardens Association
  13. Center for Popular Democracy
  14. Centro Corona
  15. Chhaya CDC
  16. Chinatown Art Brigade
  17. Citizen Action of New York
  18. Coalition for Economic Justice Buffalo (CEJ)
  19. Community Development Project at Urban Justice Center
  20. Cooper Square Committee
  21. CUFFH-Churches United for Fair Housing
  22. Daily Kos
  23. Damayan Migrant Workers
  24. DRUM — Desis Rising Up & Moving
  25. Ebbets Field Tenants Association
  26. Equality for Flatbush (E4F)
  27. Families for Freedom
  28. Fifth Ave Committee
  29. Food and Water Watch
  30. Freedom to Thrive
  31. Fuck Off Amazon
  32. FUREE — Families United for Racial and Economic Equality
  33. GAP — Global Action Project
  34. Greater New York Labor-Religion Coalition
  35. Hand in Hand: The Domestic Employers Network
  36. Hate Free Zones Queens
  37. Housing Justice For All
  38. Human-Scale NYC
  39. Hunters Point Civic Association
  40. Indivisible Brooklyn
  41. International Socialist Organization
  42. Jackson Heights Immigrant Solidarity Network
  43. JFREJ — Jews for Racial & Economic Justice
  44. Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club
  45. Jobs with Justice
  46. Justice Committee
  47. Justice for All Coalition
  48. Laundry Workers Center
  49. Legal Services Staff Association, NOLSW/UAW 2320
  50. Long Island Activists
  51. Long Island City Coalition
  52. Make the Road New York
  53. Met Council on Housing
  54. Mi Casa No Es Su Casa: Illumination Against Gentrification
  55. Mijente
  56. MinKwon Center
  57. MORE (Movement of Rank and file Educators — UFT Social Justice Caucus)
  58. Movement to Protect the People (MTOPP)
  59. Movimiento Cosecha
  60. MPower Change
  61. New Economy Project
  62. New York Communities for Change
  63. No IDC NY
  64. NOT ONE MORE BLOCK
  65. NY Progressive Action Network
  66. NYC Democratic Socialists of America
  67. NYS Tenants & Neighbors
  68. Our Movement The Future
  69. Partnership for Working Families
  70. Party for Socialism and Liberation Queens
  71. People’s Climate Movement New York
  72. Persist NY
  73. Picture the Homeless
  74. Primed Out NYC
  75. Progressive Hacknight
  76. Queens Against Amazon
  77. Queens Neighborhoods United
  78. Queens United Independent Progressives
  79. Retail Action Project
  80. Riverside Edgecombe Neighborhood Association (RENA)
  81. Rockland United
  82. Sadhana: Coalition of Progressive Hindus
  83. SANE Energy Project
  84. Shetu NYC
  85. Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) Buffalo Chapter
  86. Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) National
  87. Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) NYC Chapter
  88. Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) Rochester Chapter
  89. Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) Westchester Chapter
  90. Socialist Alternative
  91. South Asian Diaspora Arts
  92. Southwest Brooklyn Tenant Union
  93. Take Back 20
  94. Teachers Unite
  95. Tenants Political Action Committee
  96. Tech Workers Coalition
  97. The Brooklyn Anti-Gentrification Network (BAN)
  98. The Illuminator
  99. Tompkins County Worker Center
  100. True Blue New York
  101. Ugnayan Youth for Justice & Social Change
  102. Upper West Side MoveOn/Indivisible Action Group
  103. VOCAL-NY
  104. Westside Neighborhood Alliance
  105. Woke Foods
  106. Working Families Party
  107. Yalla Brooklyn